Japanese fried chicken, double fried and double crispy



In my series, “How the World Eats Fried Chicken,” I learned how to make chicken karaage. Although I have eaten karaage at many Japanese restaurants, I have never attempted cooking it at home. However, it was tasty, crispy, flavorful, and best of all, it was surprisingly easy to make! 

This dish was introduced by Tetsuro, who is originally from Japan, but currently living in New York City. According to Tetsuro, Karaage is fried chicken thighs that have been marinated overnight with seasoning and soy sauce. The word karaage means fried in Japanese, but it now refers to the fried chicken dish. There are two main types of deep-fried Japanese foods, including tempura, which originally came from Portugal, and karaage, which came from China as a tofu dish. In Japan, karaage was adapted, and many different foods were fried, but chicken karaage was always the most popular. Now, it almost always just refers to the fried chicken dish.   

Karaage is a fried chicken dish that is flavorful from the soy sauce marinade and coated with flour and then potato starch. The potato starch gives the fried chicken an extra hard and crispy outer layer that karaage is famous for. If you have difficulty finding potato starch, you could probably also use corn starch. Most of the ingredients for this dish are super easy to find, making it a great dish to cook from any place in the world.    

This fried chicken dish can be eaten all over Japan, and it is made in many Japanese homes, found in bento lunch boxes, eaten in small street-side stalls, and found at restaurants. It is sometimes served with kewpie mayonnaise, which is similar to regular mayonnaise. But Kewpie mayo only uses egg yolks instead of whole eggs. It also uses rice vinegar instead of white vinegar, making it extra rich with an underlying sweetness. You can dip the karaage into the kewpie mayo and add lemon juice, but the chicken is honestly so well-seasoned it can be eaten entirely alone. I personally really enjoyed making karaage at home. You should definitely give it a try! 

Watch the Video

Karaage Fried Chicken


For chicken

  • 1 ½ lb boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp potato or corn starch (more if neeeded)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (more if neeeded)
  • 4 cups neutral oil for frying

For seasoning

  • 1 knob ginger (1/2 tsp grated ginger with juice)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sake (can be substituted with dry sherry, Chinese rice wine, or omited)
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

For serving (optional)

  • lemon wedges
  • Japanese mayonnaise for dipping
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)


  • Cut each chicken thigh into 2-inch pieces and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Grate the ginger (you will only need ½ tsp) and mince the garlic.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, and sesame oil. Whisk it all together.
  • Add the chicken to the bowl and mix it with your hands. Cover and keep in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven) and heat it to 325ºF (163ºC) on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the potato starch and all-purpose flour in separate piles.
  • First, lightly dredge each marinated chicken piece in the flour and dust off the excess flour. Then, dredge it in the potato starch and remove the excess starch. Continue with the remaining chicken pieces.

First deep-frying

  • When the oil temperature has reached 325ºF (163ºC), gently submerge each chicken piece in the oil. Do not overcrowd the pot; add only 3-5 pieces at a time. If you put too many pieces in at once, the oil temperature will drop quickly, and the chicken will end up absorbing too much oil.
  • Deep-fry for 90 seconds, or until the outside of the chicken is a light golden color. If the chicken browns too quickly, then the oil temperature is too high. Either put a few more pieces of chicken in the oil or lower the heat. Controlling the oil temperature at all times is very important for deep-frying. Transfer the chicken pieces to a wire rack to drain the excess oil.
  • The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken as it rests on the wire rack. Continue deep-frying the remaining chicken pieces. Between batches, pick up and discard the crumbs in the oil with a fine-mesh sieve. This keeps the oil clean and prevents it from becoming darker.

Second deep-frying

  • Now, heat the oil to 350ºF (177ºC). Place 3 to 5 pieces of the resting chicken back into the oil and deep-fry for 45 seconds, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Transfer them to a wire rack to drain the excess oil. Continue with the remaining chicken pieces.
  • Serve the chicken hot. Karaage is often served with a wedge of lemon and Japanese mayonnaise. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi for a bit of spice, if desired.
Course: Dinner, Snack
Region: Asia
Keyword: Comfort food


You May Also Like